"According to Shimon Tanaka, lecturer in the Creative Writing Department and co-teacher of the course, the class chooses a non-fiction story each time the class is taught, with an eye towards highlighting social issues of which many people may be unaware. The students deliver pitches and then vote on which story should be chosen for the novel.
For this year’s class, Colin Kimzey’s ’17 pitch was chosen. However, Tanaka emphasized that although Kimzey presented the original idea, the entire class shares responsibility for the story."
Stanford Report, "Stanford students celebrate release of graphic novel American Heathen." 13 May 2015.
"At a recent book launch on campus, six young Stanford artists sat at a long table in the Terrace Room of Margaret Jacks Hall with copies of American Heathen, the graphic novel they had written and illustrated, propped up in front of them.
The event marked the highly anticipated culmination of a two-quarter English course that began in September 2014, when the students met for the first time, and finished in March 2015, when they shipped their manuscript to the publisher."
Stanford Report, "Stanford class creates graphic novels, from concept to finished books." 28 October 2010.
"Novelist and short story writer Adam Johnson, an associate professor of English, cites his students' goal 'to tell real-world stories and give voice to those who might otherwise go unheard in the hopes of doing good, seeking justice and bringing about change.'
The project is already a hit. Last month Playboy magazine named the project one of the 20 best college courses in America, hailing Johnson and Archer as 'graphic pioneers' among those who are 'reinventing the classroom.'"
Publishers Weekly, "Passion, Ideas and Teamwork: The Stanford Graphic Novel Project." 24 August 2010.
“You think you know what you’re getting into when you join,” said Snow. “I joined to create a graphic novel. What I didn't realize was that I would become a part of a team that would bond and behave as a family. Collaborative creativity can be exciting and frustrating at the same time. It's not an easy process, and often it can be painstakingly slow. I recall several instances where we spent hours working on one or two sentences.”
Johnson contends that teaching collaboration is crucial to honing editorial skills both in regard to one’s own work as well as others. “You have to recognize that other people’s ideas are much better than your own, as much as you love them,” he said. “Some part of the collaboration is trusting others and I’m surprised by how much I learned and how much my sense of storytelling has been broadened by seeing other people make moves and decisions, take chances that I wouldn’t have taken. I definitely learn a great deal as a teacher.”
SFGATE, "Stanford students try writing a graphic novel." 9 May 2008.
"After the writing, students cut the story into five acts, and the art students created storyboards from a rough draft. The illustrators mulled over the 'page flips' - the kapow-y action sequences often found on the right-hand panels. When the flips are done to maximum effect, the time it takes the reader to turn the page can serve as a dramatic pause.